Last month, Softbank published a now infamous deck of its investment holdings including WeWork. As many people quickly discovered on perusing the deck, the team who put this together at Softbank seems to have jumped through a number of hoops to create a hypothetical story and borderline magical story of what’s happening at WeWork.
I thought I’d use the deck as a way to show some different ways I might have more clearly communicated the information. Here are a number of new slides I created:
#1 First, you always want to make sure you create some context for the overall presentation. Upon searching, I found that they used the word “hypothetical” over 48. That’s probably the most relevant thing in the entire deck that is never mentioned.
#2 In your title of any slide, you always want to use the least number of words needed to communicate a message
#3 Alternatively, you can also use images to pair with concrete language to make your message more clear.
#4 You always want to make sure that there is some takeaway in the title. Never label things without telling the audience what it means:
#5 Always search for positive news you can add to your story that may take away extra tension in the room, but always try to be clear about why the slide is included
#6 One of the best tools in the consulting toolkit is the “illustrative” chart. Don’t be afraid to pair a illustrative chart with some positive colors (green, blues) to hammer your message home. Bonus points for burying the uncertainty in a footnote
#7 Avoid buzzwords. Just say exactly what you mean, even if it will be hard to handle.
#8 Add as many footnotes as you need to CYA (cover your ass) in case someone questions it. Also practice your response if people challenge you:
“yeah we thought you’d ask that. as you see in the footnote, these are illustrative”
“did you say illustrations?”
#9 Remember, if you are going to use images, make sure that they connect with your message in a powerful way. A clear connection between the image and text can be powerful